KEVIN YOUNG, DIRECTOR
60822 Creek Road
Niles, MI 49120
269-684-3870
kevin60822@sbcglobal.net


JULY/AUGUST 2021 GRANGE NEWS

Wow July!? The first 6 months of 2021 have gone by way too fast! I am glad that we are slowly getting back to a normal way of life after that nasty year we left behind in 2020. We got our garden in late this year but I am sure with lots of water and care it will come along nicely. We didn’t get our potatoes dug last fall and I couldn’t believe they survived the winter and are growing again this year! Can’t wait to see what they produce for us and the plants are a good 3 feet tall. I hope everyone that planted a garden kept in mind the Agriculture Department classes for the 2021 State Session. We are able to have classes back this year for everyone to enter. I really hope we can get lots of entries in all departments to show that the Grange is still alive in Michigan even if the Pandemic of 2020 made it hard to do much of anything as an organization!

 We are a few short months now from our 2021 State Session that is being held at the Bay Valley Resort near Bay City. I haven’t heard as of yet but I am hoping we will be back to a normal State Session with floor work and songs and great fellowship as it sure didn’t seem like a Michigan State Grange Session last year doing everything in one day due to the restrictions during the pandemic.

Fair season this year is back to normal thank goodness!! I think we all will be happy for the Youth all across our State that get to exhibit at their local County Fair once again this year. I haven’t heard of any Fair not doing their normal as my County Fair, Berrien County Youth Fair, announced the entertainment lineup for our 75th Anniversary week in August. I have 3 pigs and 2 market goats in the back yard for my niece and one nephew. The oldest nephew decided he couldn’t devote time for his last year at the Fair and has sadly moved on to being an adult and working hard to earn a living.

I subscribe to the Farmer’s Exchange weekly paper and there was an article in the June 11th edition titled “Michigan Floriculture Sales Top $500 Million”. It is interesting to see that in 2020, during the pandemic, that Michigan ranked 3rd in the Nation for value of wholesale sales of floriculture products behind California and Florida. This placing is based off of data reported from Michigan’s 549 commercial growers (with $10,000 or more in gross sales). It is awesome to see that Michigan out shines most of the Nation when it comes to Agriculture Crops along with flowers and plants.

In another article from the Farmer’s Exchange on June 4th it discussed Wool Is at the Center of Product Innovation. One of the farms they interviewed for this article is in Coldwater Michigan. The name of the farm is Mitten State Sheep and Wool. The have been raising sheep for 23 years and currently raise Border Leicester, Tunis, Bluefaced Leicester, Romney, Corriedale and some fiber crosses which all produce very nice fleece. The Mitten State farm uses their own wool in the woolen mill right on their farm to process their own fleeces. They make and sell dryer balls and I am thinking of ordering some to see just how well they work. They said in the article that these all wool dryer balls replace the need for dryer sheets as they not only help the dryer absorb moisture to dry the clothes faster but also help with static electricity that can be created in the drying process. Check out their website at for more information and a link to their etsy shop to purchase their products they offer.

Here is hoping your gardens are growing or will be and that your harvest is bountiful. Until the next MGN…. 
AGRICULTURE
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021 GRANGE NEWS

Wow! August is almost over, and another County Fair season is in the books for my area. Even thought it was so hot and humid most of the week, it sure was nice to get back to something NORMAL for summertime! It was the 75th Anniversary for the Berrien County Youth Fair where Diamonds are Fair-Ever! The number of exhibitors were down and of course that meant less exhibits but there were still nice displays and animals to look at. And of course, there was plenty of Fair Food to pick from! Our attendance for the week was just a little above what we had in 2019 so that was great considering the Fair lost out on 85% of their annual revenue for 2020.    

We got our garden in late this summer and has struggled to get started. As of today (Aug 23rd) we have a few nice zucchini plants about to give us some fruit. We also have some butternut squash vines that have some squash on them. The tomato plants didn’t get started well but we do have a couple of plants that made it and have fruit on them as well.  

As we move into the harvest season, please keep in mind that we will once again be sharing the roads with very large sized farm equipment. I know we are all in a hurry to get where we are going but we need to keep in mind that those big pieces of equipment help to put food on our families’ tables.  

I look forward to seeing everyone that will be coming to the Michigan State Grange Convention that is being held in late October at the Bay View Inn and Conference Center near Bay City. I hope everything goes well so we can get back to Normal with how we conduct business at our State Session. This includes our classes for the different departments. I hope everyone has been working on entries for the Departments so we have a great Grange Contest year!    

See you at State Session!!